Be an Educated Buyer

If you’re in the market for a new house, congrats!  Getting into a position to purchase a new home takes time, strategic planning, and responsibility.  Not everyone is a cut out for home ownership, so consider yourself lucky to be in this position.  Before you go any further, be sure to remember that education is key – your agent and lender are field matter experts but ultimately it’s you, the buyer, who needs to gather the most knowledge! 

When we asked real estate agents about their clients, these are the top 5 responses we received when talking about buyer mistakes.  Try your best to avoid these errors as you start your process in building generational wealth.

Mistake #1: Using a Bad Real Estate Agent

Sometimes you will know right away if your agent is not the best fit, but many buyers discover this too late in the transaction or months/years down the road.  Some buyers go through multiple agents, ultimately wasting precious time they could be spending searching in the market.  We can chat about terrible agents for days, but the point is using unreliable sources to find an agent does not set you up for success.  If you need a strong vetted, military affiliated agent to work for you throughout the entire process, fill out our form (yay for free services!)

Mistake #2: Using a National Lender

General consensus among real estate agents is that buyers do not completely understand lending.
Here is the nitty gritty to get you started:

  • A TON of lenders can do VA loans
  • -Lenders charge different fees.  Some charge way more than others!
  • -Not ever lender offers the same rate
  • -Like agents, not all loan officers are created equal
  • -Shopping around saves you money!
  • -Incentives such as builder credits are great, as long as they are true 
  • incentives.  
  • – VA, Military, PCS, US, Veteran in the title is just marketing
  • -The VA does not issue loans, they guarantee them!

Local Lender Benefits

Real estate agents generally prefer local lenders for several reasons.  Local lenders know the 

area, taxes and fees, appraisers, local timelines, and have established working relationships with the community – all of this gives you more accurate numbers and establishes accountability right up front.  Local lenders typically work directly with their clients, instead of assigning your file to a team of disconnected employees.  Larger lenders often lack communication and do not have the best record for making it to closing on time.  If we had our say, we would choose local every time!

buyer mistakes, immaculate kitchen, pcs homegirls

Mistake #3: Unrealistic Expectations

Buyers, specifically first time home buyers, can develop unrealistic expectations – especially in the current market.  While prices of homes have increased over the past several years, the inside finishes have not.  In our local market, a house purchased in 2019 for $330k may now sell for $525k.  Immediately buyers think the home must be immaculate and completely renovated on the inside, and that is simply not true.

It is important to study the market to see what is available in your price range.  Tour several homes in your range to get a feel for what you can buy.  Be realistic and get your mind OFF the original purchase price – that helps no one!  Same goes for new construction – industry standards, cost of supplies and labor, builder quality and home finishes drives the price of the home (and the overall price is pretty accurate for finished product).

Lastly, your home will not be exceptionally clean when you move in!  Expect to patch holes, clean floors, walls, and cabinets, clean carpets and paint before moving in.  We’ve found that a lot of people who have lived on post for years expect a spotless and freshly painted home when purchasing.  Keep in mind that a “professional clean” by a civilian is not the same as a move out/in clean on post!

Mistake #4: Start the Process Too Late

 Once you find the house to purchase and sign a contract, it takes about 30-45 days to get to the closing table.  Possession of the home generally takes place after the closing paperwork is signed, so keep that timeline in mind when searching for a home.  We highly recommend giving yourself the gift of time when you can but we totally understand the stress that military life throws at us  (hello orders, or lack thereof, lol).  

When you get an idea of where you’re headed, we recommend linking with an agent and speaking with a lender.  That way you can get an idea of what you’d like to spend and keep an eye on the market.  Using a buyers agent and a lender does not cost you money – so in the end if your orders get changed last minute you can easily shift plans without losing money.  If possible, link with an agent 3-4 months in advance (6 months is ideal) so you can explore ALL of your options!  You can also use this time getting to know your agent – allowing them to get a handle on what exactly you’re looking for and to put feelers out in their market center.  There is nothing worse than having to do it all in a 30 day time span – when that happens life is too chaotic and you may end up with buyers remorse (something we ALL look to avoid).

Mistake #5: Skip the Home Inspection

We recommend a home inspection for every home that is purchased, yes – even new construction!  That is because houses are made (and lived in) by humans, and humans make mistakes.  Sometimes there are defects or lingering problems just waiting to rear their ugly heads.  A home inspector will not uncover every single problem with the home – but they prove their value on the daily.  Uncovering issues like mold, moisture, HVAC issues, improper installs, and exposing lazy/skipped routine home maintenance have saved buyers thousands of dollars in unnecessary repairs.  The home inspection gives the buyers a snapshot of the overall condition of the house (at the moment the inspection was performed) and allows them to make a decision about asking for repairs and proceeding with the sale of the home.  

buyer mistakes,  pcs homegirls

NoteThe inspection does not cover the risk of buying a home.  It is still your responsibility to read through property disclosures, walk through the house, review the inspection report AND make an informed decision.  

Have you ever made any of these mistakes?  Let us know what happened and what you did to move forward!

We hope you find these tips helpful as someone who is entering the real estate market in a new place.  We tell our clients, do your best to be proactive – control what you can, and manage the rest!  As always, reach out to The PCS Homegirls with any questions you may have about real estate or PCSing.  If we can’t answer your question, we know someone who will. 
Not buying a house but looking for a military community?  Join us here for all things military life related!

Looking for a military-friendly real estate agent in your area to buy or sell a home? Click here to fill out our Military Real Estate Questionnaire and we will help find you an agent that is a great fit or send a us a message.